Looking for advice on which machine to purchase as a first/learner
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  1. #1
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    Default Looking for advice on which machine to purchase as a first/learner

    I'm hoping I'm not going to offend by asking this lol but I've been obsessed with cnc machining for a couple years now, and it's time I start looking to buy. Budget is 20k or less, so its definitely going to be used. I'm just needing advise on what to be looking at.

    List of desires:
    1) As rigid as possible (speed is less important to me than quality)
    2) Work area over 30x20, doesnt need to be huge
    3) Would love an ATC, I'll be making money with it, but there is very little chance I'll make more than my career job, so I'd like it to be able to run somewhat while I'm at work
    4) Its going to be a learner, so a controller that isn't ridiculously difficult to pick up, and plenty of available information on it would be nice
    5) As serviceable as possible, im a commercial/industrial electrician by trade, and a hobbyist fabricator on the side, with over a decade of car building for fun...I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty to fix something, as long as proprietary parts are either at a minimum or readily available

    That's about it.

    For reference, I've been looking at Fadal 4020 as an option. Is there any other machine I should have my eyes out for? I live in the PNW, so local probably isn't going to be an option, shipping is pretty much a given, so not a deal breaker.

    Thanks guys! About to find out if y'all are n00b friendly

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    Where in the PNW are you? East of the mountains or west? Not that hard to find a good used machine west of the mountains, include Portland in your search. East of the mountains, yeah, harder.

    Regards.

    Mike

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    If you intend on making any money with this machine, you really should strongly bias toward an ATC. Making parts of any consequence without one is maddening. BTDT.

    Regards.

    Mike

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    There is a good-looking Haas on Seattle Craig's List right now. Don't remember which model. Minimill I think.

    Regards.

    Mike

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    I'm on the west side, Portland occasionally has some decent stuff, there's currently a milltronics partner 1 for 6500 bucks down there.

    Would a newer minimill be better than an older "real" machine?

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    Quote Originally Posted by paradigmshift View Post
    I'm on the west side, Portland occasionally has some decent stuff, there's currently a milltronics partner 1 for 6500 bucks down there.

    Would a newer minimill be better than an older "real" machine?
    I wouldn't bother with anything that does not have an ATC. If you have the space/power for a real VMC then I would say go for it! A Fadal is a good choice if you're planning to work on it yourself, lots of options for buying parts and they are easy to work on.

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    I know you don't want to hear this but ....if I was in your shoes I would save that money and go build relationships with some local shops and the find work you can middle man to those shops. Earn money save money then buy a real CNC machine with a higher budget and hey you will have customers when you do that.



    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by paradigmshift View Post
    .......

    List of desires:
    1) As rigid as possible (speed is less important to me than quality)
    2) Work area over 30x20, doesnt need to be huge
    3) Would love an ATC, I'll be making money with it, but there is very little chance I'll make more than my career job, so I'd like it to be able to run somewhat while I'm at work
    4) Its going to be a learner, so a controller that isn't ridiculously difficult to pick up, and plenty of available information on it would be nice
    5) As serviceable as possible, im a commercial/industrial electrician by trade, and a hobbyist fabricator on the side, with over a decade of car building for fun...I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty to fix something, as long as proprietary parts are either at a minimum or readily available

    .......
    This hits on all but #5 and even there not far from it. Hits #1 in a big way. It is over 30x20 but is pretty huge.

    Kuraki KV-2000, Vertical CNC Machine - tools - by owner - sale

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    I know you don't want to hear this but ....if I was in your shoes I would save that money and go build relationships with some local shops and the find work you can middle man to those shops. Earn money save money then buy a real CNC machine with a higher budget and hey you will have customers when you do that.



    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    That sounds like a great thought, but how in the heck do you get work without having a shop to start with? I find new customers always have questions about your shop. They want to know details, want to see pictures and even do site visits. I cant imagine a company giving out much work to some guy who walks off the street and says "I know a guy who can do this..."

    To the OP, I think a Fadal 4020 is a great first machine. Very cheap to start with, its reliable and will make good parts of a decent size too. It is a little slow but adjust your target market to match. Look for prototype work or small runs. Lots of money to be made with slow machines in this area. Even for larger runs, you can charge less per hr and still profit close to the same as a faster machine that have higher payments. I think your on the right track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmurray70 View Post
    That sounds like a great thought, but how in the heck do you get work without having a shop to start with? I find new customers always have questions about your shop. They want to know details, want to see pictures and even do site visits. I cant imagine a company giving out much work to some guy who walks off the street and says "I know a guy who can do this..."

    To the OP, I think a Fadal 4020 is a great first machine. Very cheap to start with, its reliable and will make good parts of a decent size too. It is a little slow but adjust your target market to match. Look for prototype work or small runs. Lots of money to be made with slow machines in this area. Even for larger runs, you can charge less per hr and still profit close to the same as a faster machine that have higher payments. I think your on the right track.
    Often we will come across work that doesn't fit out shop and I send it right out the door to another shop and get my middle man fee.



    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by as9100d View Post
    Often we will come across work that doesn't fit out shop and I send it right out the door to another shop and get my middle man fee.



    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    Sure its easy to subcontract an odd job when you have an established base of customers. But I bet its a whole lot harder to start knocking on doors looking for work with absolutely nothing to show to prove yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmurray70 View Post
    Sure its easy to subcontract an odd job when you have an established base of customers. But I bet its a whole lot harder to start knocking on doors looking for work with absolutely nothing to show to prove yourself.
    Maybe for some....this is how I got started some 10 years ago. Guy will have $20,000 to pay for parts to be made and show around of he wanted.....just saying.

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    I second Fadal,
    There easy to run and fix.

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    Im going to be selling off a Fadal 15 with a 4th axis here in a couple weeks ,,, I am about a hour west of seattle

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    There...
    Their....
    They're....

    All different.

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    In the end...a machine is a machine.

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    You (OP) mentioned a milltronics partner 1. I have one and really like it. Less common than a fadal, but similar in a lot of ways. Easy to work on and uses mostly off the shelf parts, and still has support from the factory. Can be run on single phase with no modifications. Accurate and rigid enough for what I do. Control is easy in my opinion. The memory and look ahead is small, and the tool changes are slow, but beat babysitting any day. I would stick to a P1H or newer (mine is 1995). The linear rails are bigger than the previous ones and the electronics are newer/better and upgradeable. Some, like mine, have AC servos (faster rapids), 10k spindle, and rigid tapping also. And... fits under a 7 foot door and runs on a 50A circuit no problem.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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    Can you PM me the details, please?

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    Lol that things a monster....much too large for what I'll be making

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    There are a couple of nice OKKs on ebay.

    OKK model PCV-510(10L) CNC Vertical Machining Center with Mits M330 control-1990 | eBay

    I bought a machine from this dealer. He was easy to deal with, gave me a screaming deal cause he had to get rid of the machine and was honest! They are also an OKK dealer so parts and support are available.

    They also have a nive 2005 OKK MDV-55

    It's hard to beat an old Japanese machine


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